The Public Interest

National energy planning redux

Irwin M. Stelzer

Fall 1990

ROMANIANS DO without electricity for large parts of the day. Poles and East Germans choke in the pollution from inefficient electric generating plants.  The British public pays a 20-percent surcharge on its electric bills to pay for past nuclear sins of its then-nationalized power system.  Russian oil production, suffering from years of government mismanagement, is in decline. China is unable to harness its vast resources of natural gas. Americans, meanwhile, have enjoyed ample supplies of relatively inexpensive oil and natural gas, and— so far—haven’t had to worry too much about whether their lights will go on when they flip a switch.

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